I know the word “blessing” isn’t often the first word that comes to mind when someone hears the term “special needs”. At this point in our journey, it is the first word that comes to mind. Jac is our blessing. (As well as our two boys.) This week we celebrate Thanksgiving. During the month of November, it seems that many people participate in online challenges celebrating Thanksgiving and taking time each day to share what they are thankful for. I love this time of year, but I can’t help but think, “Why don’t we celebrate our blessings daily?” I don’t think I truly understood blessings or God’s love for me until He gave me Jacqueline.
My World Turned Upside Down
August 21, 2008 God gave us Jacqueline Ruth Bouchard, a full term, 5 lb 4 oz bundle of joy. But what should have been the most joyous occasion of our life quickly turned tragic. The birth was a difficult one because within a couple hours of arriving at the hospital, my idea of having a natural delivery was thrown out the window for an emergency c-section. I wasn’t awake. I didn’t see my child until a couple hours after her birth. By two in the morning the next day (six hours after birth), we were told she was having seizures and would need to be transported to the nearest NICU. I’ve shared this story before, so I’ll cut to the chase, just a few days into her NICU stay we were given the devastating news that Jacqueline had brain damage.
Learning to Live with the Diagnosis
I was in denial for a long time. Like months after. I didn’t even seek early intervention services sooner because I thought she would just catch up on her own. I will never forget the blow of hearing she had brain damage. My initial thought was, “People are going to be mean to her and treat her differently.” I spent a lot of time in prayer and Bible reading trying to make sense of my new “normal”. Nothing seemed right. I learning to be a mother and juggle numerous doctor’s appointments and eventually therapy, and I just didn’t feel myself.
Having a new baby is hard enough on its own. But trying to heal emotionally and physically from an incredibly traumatic experience took its toll. It was during that first year battling depression and crying out to God that I realized His complete love for me, and while the depression didn’t completely lift until after the birth of our second, I was able to cope and live a much more functional life.
Always Focusing on God’s Faithfulness and Blessings
He blesses me daily in ways I’m sure I overlook or can’t see because of His hand of protection. Having a child with special needs has allowed me to see God’s love and truly be thankful. He has entrusted her to my husband and me. While there are many things that are difficult for her to do or even unable to do at this time, we choose to focus on what she CAN do.
Everyone on this Earth has a purpose they were designed for, and I have no doubt that Jac was made for great and wonderful things. She has a level of empathy and compassion I didn’t know a child her age was capable of. She’s also one of the most thankful children I’ve ever met. She has allowed me to see the good in people, the potential in all, and focus on what is possible.
Had it not been for Jac, I’m not sure I would have appreciated my VBACs with my boys or their seemingly “normal” developmental stages.
Blessings of 2017
I have much to be thankful for this year. Some of the things that come to mind:
-My daddy completed chemo and radiation for cancer that was found in May. There appears to be no sign of cancer, but we will know for sure next month.
-We didn’t have any damage to our home despite the hurricane that came through. No flooding and no wind damage. (The last two years have been riddled with home damage and issues.
-We have been able to pay off a lot of debt thanks to Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University”
I know it’s a bit pricey, but honestly, I don’t know if we would have been able to pay off over $12,000 worth of debt without it. We are that much closer to only having a mortgage! (Check out my disclosure for the link here.)
-Jac has added new therapists and got a new special education teacher at the beginning of this year, and despite the issues we had when we first moved here, God has worked things out for her and us. Read more about that here.
-I’ve been able to see things differently and it has allowed me to look at my business differently and opened new and exciting opportunities for me through blogging as well as working with Ellie Activewear. Super exciting stuff!
So that’s it for now. Make sure you sign up for me email and get your FREE copy of my e-book all about prioritizing and organizing. Till next time.